the sun shines in New Orleans

Now that I’m home from New Orleans and have some new photos to share, I’ll be back to posting more regularly. For the foreseeable future, it will likely be very heavy on New Orleans pics.

We arrived on a Tuesday evening, after the sun had set, checked in to the apartment I found on Airbnb, and then set out to find some food and music.  It ended up being only a five minute walk to Frenchmen Street (where all the clubs are that feature local musicians), and despite some of the travel tips I read beforehand, it was perfectly safe to walk there.  During 12 days of walking around the French Quarter and the Marigny (where Frenchmen Street is) we never ran into any issues. Just like anywhere, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts, and you’ll be fine.  In fact, the only place that felt remotely dangerous was Bourbon Street!  Just too much craziness there, it became a thoroughfare to get to places in other areas in the French Quarter, not a destination (of course, I did take a few pics, though).

Woke to a bright, sunshiny morning for the first morning of the trip…the apartment I found on Airbnb was one side of the ground floor of an 1830s mansion.

morning coffee

kitchen had great morning light

swinging my cares away

a lot of time was spent swinging my cares away… (and people watching)

1830s New Orleans Mansion

the upstairs – we were lucky enough to get a tour of the main house, but didn’t take any pictures inside

kumquats

a daily dose of kumquats, practically in reaching distance of the swing

Got to know the pets of the property quite well after 12 days…

Cletus the cat

Cletus, she owns the place – everyone else is just visiting

Maggie the poodle

Maggie the poodle would never look at me for a pic

Of course, a first day in New Orleans has to include a trip to Cafe du Monde for beignets and cafe au lait…with walking everywhere and the right amount of insulin, beignets ended up not being bad for my blood sugar! yay! (I just couldn’t eat all three!)

Cafe du Monde

 

New Orleans is a fascinating place…  It made me happy (just being surrounded by beautiful and historic buildings, music everywhere, lots of different kinds of art, and colourful characters). It made me both sad and mad (there are a lot of homeless people and many who are in their young 20s). It grossed me out (every once in awhile there are odd smells in the French Quarter). It made me full (the food was delicious, thank goodness for all the walking).  It intrigued me (ghost stories of the French Quarter and some of the dark/twisted art I saw).  It’s a place that is alive, vibrant, colourful, and really, the most interesting place I’ve ever been.  I would visit again in a heartbeat.

 

 

My Regina

I like online shopping, but I know it’s also important to support local businesses.  It was a very blah, grey, cold, dreary (did I mention blah?) Saturday in Regina, and instead of hunkering down on the couch in my comfy pants, it was a let’s shop local kind of day.

First up…lunch. Flip Eatery & Drink (http://www.fliprestaurant.ca/) is probably my favourite place for lunch on a Saturday day off (the menu is the same for supper, I just prefer eating there for lunch, I’m not really sure why).

Nicoise Salad, deconstructed:

Flip deconstructed Nicoise salad

The item on the left is a cured soft boiled egg, then there’s tempura’d (I’m not sure that’s actually a word) asparagus, pickled carrots and onions, seared and smoked Ahi tuna…and waffle chips. All really good. I love chips too much and it’s probably not a good thing that I liked the waffle chips as much as I did!

Flip’s coffee is always fresh, served French Press style:

Flip Coffee Press

Every cold, dreary day needs some coffee…(well, okay, everyday needs some coffee)…

The chef/owner of Flip also has a store around the corner called Salt Boutique (https://twitter.com/saltyqr), right beside my favourite building in Regina, favourite Regina building which sells a lot of the products used at Flip.  Some of my purchases today:

Salt Boutique finds

Someday, I want to make pickled carrots (it is on my list of things to learn how to do – I know it won’t be very hard, I just have to do it), but for now, I’ll try not to eat these in one day. The coffee rub is really good on chicken – I’ve never tried the mustard before, and the popcorn was placed conveniently by the till..

I’d never been to Casa Decor (http://www.casadecor.ca/) in the Warehouse District, and found out today they’ve been there for 10 years!  It’s totally my kind of store – home furnishings and accessories, jewelry, clothing, artwork, and very friendly service.  I was actually looking for some kind of interesting box or container to put jewelry in, but ended up coming home with two purchases…

Seastar from Casa Decor

I bought this sea star candle holder because it reminds me of my trip to the Great Bear Rainforest two years ago.

Specifically, it reminds of this…Great Bear Rainforest Seastar…there’s more than bears in the Great Bear Rainforest!  Don’t worry, Eloise, the naturalist on the trip with Ocean Adventures ( http://www.oceanadventures.bc.ca/) put the sea star (she told us that’s the proper name, not starfish) back in the water right away – it was very slimy!

And, I’m going to fun have fun choosing photos to go in this…

frame from Casa Decor

And, finally,what’s better on a cold, grey, dreary, ugly day than homemade pizza for supper…

homemade pizza

Not a bad day, after all…

wine in the rain

A little drizzle is no problem when this is the view while enjoying a glass of wine on vacation…

wine glass in the rain

The wine is a California Pinot Noir, Meiomi 2012, recommended by the bartender at the Castaway Cafe, the restaurant at Maui Kaanapali Villas. It’s not a fancy place, but the food is very good. Much better than meal we had at one of the restaurants at the fancy Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort next door. Let’s just say, it sure seemed like the fish in the fish and chips I ordered were straight from a box of frozen fish and chips, which is fine, if I’m at home and want to have fish and chips from a box (I had that for lunch the other day, in fact), but I’m not sure how you mess up fish in a place like Maui!  Anyway, if you’re visiting Maui and you want nice food in a low-key, relaxed setting Castaway Cafe is a great place to consider (they have a really nice wine list, too).

roasted vegetable salad

When I first started my blog, I thought I would post a lot of food pictures because I love food and I also enjoy cooking and making up recipes as I go.  My thought was it would be fun to document some of my experiments that turn out well…and today is the first time in a long time when I actually took some pictures as I was making supper.

I love salad – but I don’t love wimpy iceberg lettuce, tomato wedge, cucumber slices kind of salads. I like interesting salads with berries and goat cheese and toasted pecans and arugula and things like that. When I was thinking about what to make for supper in the midst of a day that had a lot going on, this is what came to mind. And it was really good!

I started with a base of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red onion and avocado.  I also cut up an orange and added it to the plate. I drizzled it with a sweet onion salad dressing.

Roasted Vegetable Salad

For the roasted vegetables I used what I had, so today it was baby potatoes, carrots, peppers and parsnips. I used about a tbsp of canola oil and seasoned them with a herb and pepper spice blend and a bit of salt and roasted them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. When I turned the oven off, I just left them in the oven until I was ready to finish plating the salad (about ten more minutes). I say “about” a lot when I’m making up things as I go.

Roasted Vegetable Salad 2

Then I cooked an egg over-easy to finish off the salad. I only wish I hadn’t cooked the egg quite as long so the yolk would have oozed out over the salad.

Roasted Vegetable Salad 3

It’s one of the best things I’ve made in awhile!  Of course, two pieces of bacon on top of the egg would have put it over the top!!  Next time.

Anyway, photography and cooking are relaxing to me so it was fun to combine the two tonight.

 

 

chocolate peanut butter fudge

My chocolate peanut butter fudge picture is not Martha Stewart worthy, but it tastes pretty good. I’m a Type 1 diabetic, and when I started looking for fudge recipes I was horrified by the amount of sugar that was in some of them.  I’ve made “diabetic” fudge in the past with Splenda, and it was alright, but I wanted to make something without using it this time.  I combined a few recipes and came up with this.  It’s pretty good, and it’s definitely quick and easy.  Next time I’d consider using chunky peanut butter, using quality dark chocolate like Lindt, and maybe adding some vanilla.  This is the basic recipe:

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used Hershey 50% dark chocolate chips)

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk (what can you do with the leftovers – besides make more fudge?)

1/4 cup peanut butter (I used creamy, and ended up adding a few more tablespoons for a more peanut buttery taste )

I made this fudge in the microwave – melting it about a minute at a time, stirring until it was creamy. Poured it into an 8×8 pan, lined with foil, and put it in the fridge until it was set (I had my first bite after 30 minutes, but better to leave it longer!)

chocolate peanut butter fudge

 

The Tucci Cookbook

I love reading cookbooks, even if I don’t make any recipes from them, I like looking at the pictures, reading the descriptions, and imagining the possibilities.  This is my latest favourite, even though I haven’t made anything from it yet.  It’s a gorgeous book, the recipes sound amazing (and don’t appear to be too difficult), and it’s a beautiful tribute to his family, and of course, who doesn’t love Stanley Tucci! Not sure I’ll have time this weekend to attempt any recipes from the book, but I’ll post pictures when I do.